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Bangladesh PM: Govt sympathetic to Rohingyas, but hard against culprits

PM talking during the Question-Answer Session in the parliament . Photo- PID

December 8, 2016

Hasina says the government cannot open the border for Rohingyas on a large scale as it is the matter of two sovereign countries

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that her government is very much sympathetic towards the Rohingyas, but hard against the culprits, who want to use Bangladesh’s land against neighbours.

“Bangladesh has already allowed many distressed Myanmar nationals to enter its territory amid recent trouble in Myanmar but under no circumstances Bangladesh will allow any criminals responsible for recent attacks on the Myanmar Army and border guards [that left nine dead],” she told parliament yesterday.

In reply to a question from Jatiya Party lawmaker Fakhrul Imam, Hasina said: “Bangladesh’s soil will not be allowed to use for any subversive activities against our neighbours.”

She said that her government had been giving all possible supports, including food, shelter and medical facilities, to the Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar. “But we cannot open our gate for their influx on a large scale as it is the matter of two sovereign countries.”

Hasina said that the Foreign Ministry had already summoned the Myanmar envoy in Dhaka and asked him to refrain from creating any situation which would aggravate the situation.

“We have taken all steps which we should do. We are careful about both humanity and discouraging any subversive activities in the neighbouring country,” she said.

The prime minister said that the government had asked the border guards and intelligence agencies to trace the culprits responsible for the recent attacks on the border guard police and the army in Myanmar.

These culprits are responsible for the current unrest in Myanmar and putting thousands of people into troubles. “We have to find out whether any of those culprits has taken shelter inside our territory. They will be handed over to the Myanmar authorities soon after arrest,” she told parliament.

According to IOM Bangladesh, an estimated 21,000 Rohingyas arrived in Cox’s Bazar between October 9 and December 2 to escape violence in Myanmar.

In September, Hasina told Myanmar State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi that the Rohingya issue should be solved by the two next-door neighbours after the latter sought her help.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal recently said that the Rohingyas who had entered Bangladesh recently must go back to Myanmar.

Bangladesh has two registered and several unofficial Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar whereas some 300,000-500,000 undocumented Rohingyas are living in the country illegally. The government claims that many of the Rohingyas are involved in crimes and militant activities.

The government is communicating with the international community and urging them to take strong position against oppression on the Rohingya people.

Earlier, more than 100 people were killed in violence in Rakhine and some 125,000 Rohingyas took refuge in camps for internally displaced persons while several thousand others entered Bangladesh to save their life in 2012.

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